Stop and search plans are 'discriminatory' watchdog warns

originally published by: The Guardian
published: 15th November 2010

Government plans allowing police to stop people on the grounds of skin colour are discriminatory and amount to racial profiling, the official equalities body has warned ministers.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission wants the plans dropped and has warned there is a high risk that British and European laws will be broken, in a letter seen by the Guardian.

Serving officers represented by the Black Police Association have also damned the plans as a “concession to racism” as opposition to the measures intensifies. The issue threatens to test the credibility of Conservative claims to be an inclusive party and drag the government into a dispute over race.

The Home Office says it intends to press ahead and introduce the guidance allowing race to be taken into account when a police officer stops someone if it is judged to be relevant. It says race cannot be the sole reason for deciding to conduct a search, and the government insists the new measures will “protect civil liberties”.

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